Thane: The specially abled people of Thane city have warned agitation and have planned to take to the streets from February (date yet to be decided) if the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) did not disburse the disabled welfare funds to the beneficiaries immediately.
The Thane civic body earlier in 2015-16 set a budget of Rs 9.22 crore for implementing disabled-friendly schemes after it failed to spend it properly.
Fake beneficiaries taking benefits
Since past few years TMC has not been allocating the funds properly to the beneficiaries and the fake beneficiaries are taking these benefits, alleged chief convenor of Akhil Bhartiya Divyang Sena and a resident of Mumbra Mohammad Yusuf Farukh Khan.
Mohammad Yusuf Khan said, “Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC), Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) are allocating big amount of funds to the disabled by linking Aadhar card but, the TMC till date has not implemented Aadhar card linking process. This is the reason why the number of fake disabled beneficiaries have increased. Considering this, we demand that the Aadhaar card of the disabled residing in TMC jurisdiction be linked to identify the real beneficiaries in the area. If this is not done, an indefinite agitation will be started from February.”
Khan said he had earlier written to Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde in this regard requesting him to look into the matter.
Link our Aadhaar cards, demands Akhil Bhartiya Divyang Sena
According to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, it is mandatory for the local bodies to allocate the Disability Improvement and Welfare Fund for the upliftment of the specially abled and implement schemes that will support the them. According to this Act, local self-government bodies are strictly directed to implement schemes for the economic empowerment of the specially abled by allocating 5 per cent of the total budget. Furthermore, the specially abled people should be empowered. Instructions have also been given in the above law to ensure that they do not remain dependent. Based on this Act, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has provided a separate 5 per cent fund as Disability Improvement Fund in its annual budget along with the budget which is around 5 crore.
Khan said, “Due to confusion regarding the number of disabled persons in the city and complicated regulations, not all specially abled persons can benefit from this improvement fund. We demand that instead of giving a subsidy of 24,000 rupees per year to the disabled from the TMC jurisdiction, a subsidy of 5 to 10 lakh rupees should be given to the specially abled people. New people added to this list should be supported every year. A sum of 10,000 rupees per month should be given for the treatment of the physically challenged persons. The way ration cards are linked with government systems is often used by fake disabled persons to change their address and divert funds from the Thane Municipal Corporation. On the same lines, orders should be issued to link the Aadhaar card of beneficiaries with disabilities and provide funds of Rs 5 to 10 lakhs at once.”
Khan alleges that the TMC has not done the survey of the specially abled persons in the city and that there would be somewhere around 10,000 specially abled persons in the city. He adds that the Akhil Bhartiya Divyang Sena has demanded for appropriate orders and action against the fake beneficiaries who have availed various benefits under disabled persons welfare scheme by providing false information. “Even though the administrative rule is in force at TMC from March 9, 2022 no concrete action is being taken by the TMC commissioner and this is the reason why the specially abled people of Thane city have decided to demonstrate,” added Khan.
Even after calls and messages TMC commissioner Abhijit Bangar was unavailable for comments.